PACE monitors for Azerbaijan welcome release of Afgan Mukhtarli

The co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),  Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC) and Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC/DA), have welcomed the release of Mr Afgan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani investigative journalist and activist detained by the Azeri authorities since May 2017 following his abduction from Georgia.

“It is good news. We have always considered Mr Mukhtarli as a political prisoner and his release is therefore welcome,” they said.

“We hope that this show of goodwill by the authorities is a step towards democratisation and freedom of expression,” they added, recalling that Azerbaijan is ranked 166th out of 180 countries in Reporters` Without Borders Press Freedom Index, and noting that the lack of independence of the judiciary in the country remains an outstanding concern.